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Plank Workouts You Should Try Today
Fitness trainers love plank exercises, and they have become a staple in many workout routines. Do you feel like the plank is overrated or overdone? We get it! But the regular plank has several variations that all have similar benefits so that you change your routine and still get a rewarding workout.
Plank workouts are an efficient, effective, and solid foundation for any full-body workout. Many fitness instructors consider them a foundation, meaning you should master them before attempting more advanced moves. Read on as we describe some plank variations and show you videos of some of the alterations you can do as you get started.
You Will Love These Plank Workouts and Their Variations
The first step is mastering a regular plank, but there are many great ways to mix it up once you do. Let’s discuss why planks are being incorporated and the benefits you’ll see when you do them often.
What Are The Benefits Of Planks?
When you break it down, the main benefit of plank workouts is the work to your core. A strong core leads to a strong body. Additionally, a strong core reduces your risk of back pain and injury. Your core muscles stabilize your spine, so if your core is weak, your spine has to kick in to help you with your exercise. Over time, all that tension on your back leads to pain and other issues. If you’ve been experiencing back pain, your trainer or doctor will likely add some core-strengthening and other stabilizing exercises to your workouts.
Planks will also teach you a correct upright posture, which is beneficial when you’re lifting weights or other heavy objects. Planks require a tall chest, an engaged core, relaxed shoulders, and a natural spine curvature without excessive low-back extension, just like a proper upright standing position when exercising.
As mentioned above, core stability becomes the foundation of many other exercises. So if you’re looking to get stronger and see progress in other parts of your routine, planks can help you get there.
The high plank is just a regular plank, and it’s what you should start with. Here’s how it goes:
Start on your hands and knees, with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Your knees should be about hip-width apart. Lift your knees off the ground, and then step back with your feet with your legs straight and fully extended.
In this position, keep your core, butt, and quads tight. Don’t arch your back. Instead, imagine that you’re extending out from the top of your head and out through your heels simultaneously. Keep your neck in a neutral position (it helps if you look at the floor a few inches in front of your hands). Then hold for however long you want.
If you’re new to planks, it helps to start with your hands elevated on a bench or even the wall. The higher your hands, the easier it is to hold. Once you get more comfortable, you can start to lower your hands until you’re on the floor.
Plank jacks are a fun plank alternative if you want more movement. Start in a high plank with your palms flat on the floor shoulder-width apart. Your shoulders should be stacked directly above your wrists; remember to engage your core and glutes and extend your legs behind you.
The next step is to jump your feet out to the sides and back in, just like jumping jacks. Keep your hips stable; you don’t want them bouncing up and down as your move your feet in and out. Continue for a set amount of time.
We love this one because the jumping motion brings dynamic movement to the plank and increases your heart rate. If you find your hips moving too much, tap your toes out one at a time instead of jumping.
For a forearm plank, start on your hands and needs first. Lower down to your forearms so that your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders. Keep your palms down and fingertips facing forward, and keep your forearms parallel to each other.
Then lift your knees off the ground, and adjust your feet so that your legs are fully extended and straight. Avoid arching your back, but keep your core, quads, and glutes tight.
Remember that your form matters more than the time you spend in the position. When you engage your muscles properly, even a short duration will feel challenging.
The plank up-down is another fun one on our list of plank workouts. Start in the high plank position. Lower your right arm so your forearm is on the floor and then follow with your left until you are in the forearm plank position. Place your left hand back on the floor to extend your arm, and follow with the right, so that you end back in a high plank. This is one rep. Alternate which arm you start with for each rep.
As you move through this routine, keep your hips as still as possible and engage your core. You don’t want to swing from side to side. If you’re struggling with form, widen your legs to give you a firmer foundation.
The last variation we want to talk about is the plank reach. Start in a forearm plank. Then reach forward with one arm and tap the floor in front of you. Return to starting position. Repeat with the other arm.
As you alternate between reaches, ensure you engage your core, and avoid dropping your hips toward the floor. Alternate as quickly as possible (without sacrificing form, of course!).
The bottom line when it comes to plank workouts is to move at your pace. Remember that quality is better than quantity. If you can only hold your plank for a few seconds, but your form is good, that’s great! Listen to your body, move at a pace that works for you, and you’ll see results in no time.
Are you looking for some solid full-body workouts to help you practice planks and build strength? We have classes that will do just that and more. Get started here.
Invest in Fitness Classes That Fire You Up
The last tip on our list of keeping your fitness resolutions this year is to choose a workout that excites you. Stop signing up for classes you dread going to just because you think you should. Instead, check out some of the thousands of available classes offered by Community Fitness. We have so many options to help you get fired up, have fun, and feel great at the end of each class.
- Dance Fitness
- Strength & Cardio
- Yoga & Wellness
- Indoor Cycle
We firmly believe that when you love your workout and feel like you’re a part of a community, you’ll stick with it, leading to results you can see and feel. Luckily for you, we’ve created a Livestream calendar and an On Demand library of classes so you can tune in and access your favorite workouts or instructors quickly and easily.
No matter your fitness level or favorite style of exercise, we’ve got curated programs to help you stay on track and stay motivated. And the best part is that you can stream our classes anytime, anywhere – be it at home, on the go, or even at the gym!
Need Some Extra Support? – Community Fitness Can Help!
Do you want 2022 to be different? Surround yourself with people who have similar goals as you. The instructors at Community Fitness can help you get fit, lose weight, build strength, and keep you motivated and inspired to stay healthy. We’ve got your back and make getting fit easy with a vast database of online classes you can tune into whenever and wherever. So let us know what you want to achieve this year, and we’ll help you make your resolutions a reality.
Hopefully, our above tips make you feel like you have a better handle on your resolutions so that your health and fitness journey can go the distance. Let’s drop the “new year, new me” mantra and replace it with something better, like “new year, baby steps to a healthier, happier me.”
Browse through all of our available courses we know you’ll love here.
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